The RaboPro12 teams made sure that it was not only a thrilling weekend for international rugby but for league rugby as well with some very closely contended games, which were won in the dying seconds. Leinster only managed a draw away to Glasgow but still have a decent lead at the top of the table, while a losing bonus-point for the Ospreys meant they stayed a point ahead of Munster.
Scarlets 34 – 20 Benetton Treviso
Scarlets fought back to secure a bonus-point win over Treviso despite the Italians going over for two tries in the first five minutes of the game. Ludovico got Treviso off to a fantastic start, going over in the second minute after a fantastic line out. Valerio Bernabo extended the visitors lead after charging down a kick from Aled Thomas and going over next to the posts. Willem de Waal added the extras for both tries. Scarlets were handed a penalty on the 15 minute mark but Thomas’ kick went wide, however he managed to make amends for his earlier mistakes just before the 30 minute mark after Josh Turnbull managed to break through Treviso’s defence to put the first points on the board for the Scarlets, Thomas converted. A second try for the home side came minutes before the half-time whistle as Deacon Manu went over after a close range scrum and Thomas managed to level the scores with his conversion. Treviso, determined not to be undone by their first half performance made sure they went into the break in the lead after Waal managed a long range penalty.
The second half saw the Scarlets gain momentum, Liam Williams added a third try in the 55th minute and Thomas made it three conversions out of three to put the Scarlets into the lead for the first time, before knocking over a penalty minutes later. In the 64th minute Gonzalo Garcia was sin-binned for tipping over Kieran Murphy but it was not long before both teams were down to 14-men after Aaron Shingler was also shown a yellow card. Waal then put Treviso within a try of the Scarlets when he knocked over a penalty but the home side weren’t finished and Thomas kicked another three points before Liam Davies went over for a bonus-point try.
Munster 16 – 13 Cardiff Blues
Munster managed to hold of a comeback from Cardiff to ensure they extended their lead in the Pro12 table. Dan Parks and Ian Keatley exchanged early penalties before Munster took control, first with Felix Jones going over for a try, before Keatley kicked a further eight points for the home side, giving them a 16-3 lead at half time.
Cardiff came out fighting in the second half, with Richard Mustoe going over for a try after a fantastic pass from Chris Czekaj, Parks added the extras which put the Blues well and truly back in the game. Parks missed an opportunity to put Cardiff within three points of Munster. Cardiff pushed on and despite a 62 minute penalty from Ben Blair they were unable to do enough and Munster are now seven points clear of the Blues in the table.
Ulster 15 – 14 Ospreys
Despite a last minute converted try the Osprey’s just fell short against their Irish rivals. The Ospreys also had the first say of the game when Joe Bearman went over for a try just after Pedrie Wannenburg was send to the sin-bin, Dan Biggar added the extras. The visitors looked strong, but Biggar was soon penalised for deliberately slapping the ball down and ultimately gave Ulster a penalty try which Ruan Pienaar converted on the stroke of half time.
Paddy Wallace went over for try shortly after the restart, but Pienaar was unable to add the extras after sending the kick wide. As the games entered the final minutes it Ospreys made a superb comeback, Eli Walker made sure the otherwise ordinary game had a thrilling end as he went over for a solo try, Biggar managed to add the extras but the Ospreys had to settle for a losing bonus-point.
Connacht 26 – 13 Edinburgh
Connacht ended their winless steak with a fantastic win at home against Edinburgh. They dominated the first half and went into the break 10-0. Niall O’Connor kicked five points while Fetu’u Vainikolo managed to get over the try line after a great scrum by the home side. O’Connor missed the chance to extend the lead early in the second half when he sent a penalty wide but made amends shortly after to make it 13-0.
Tim Visser lead the way for Edinburgh after touching down, but Phil Godman was unable to add the extras and then the visitors found themselves a man down after Tom Brown was sent to the sin-bin. O’Connor added another three points for Connacht but Edinburgh were not giving up and Chris Paterson went over for their second try, Godman missed the conversion but managed to find the target with a penalty on the hour mark. Edinburgh were now just three points behind Connacht before Matthew Jarvis managed to extend the lead with a penalty. Connacht then took control of possession and some outstanding play by John Muldoon allowed Mike McCarthy to go over for a try with Jarvis adding the extras.
Glasgow Warriors 10 – 10 Leinster
Isa Nacewa ensured Leinster went away with a draw as he made amends for his earlier sin-binning. Glasgow got the first points, and only of the first half, on the board after a successful penalty from Ruaridh Jackson in the 30th minute. Nacewa was sin-binned early in the second half and gave Glasgow a penalty try, duly converted Jackson giving the homeside a 10 point lead. However it was not long before Leinster started fighting back and Heinke van der Merew went over for a try, which was converted by Ian Madigan, reducing the deficit to just three-points, and in the 71st minute Nacewa kicked the final score of the game to give Leinster the draw.
Aironi 9 – 10 Newport Gwent Dragons
Lewis Robling slotted over a simple conversion to ensure the Dragons got their first away win in over a year. Their tight encounter with Aironi was won by the late penalty try as the Dragons had to come from behind to win in Italy. Jason Tovey gave the Dragon’s an early lead but the Welsh side were unable to take advantage when Matteo Pratichetti was shown a yellow card, instead Naas Olivier managed to level the scores just before half-time when Andy Tuilgai was also sent to the sin-bin. Olivier slotted over two more penalties in the second half and it looked like that was enough to give the Italians the win until Fabio Ongaro was sent to the sin-bin allowing the Dragons scrum to take full advantage to earn a penalty try before Robling held his nerve to give the Dragons the win.